Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sign up now to see the South Slope

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2011 at 2:31 PM

The South Slope of Pikes Peak still isn't open to the public, though that exciting time is nearing.

In the meantime, you can take a look at this pristine wonderland we've told you so much about for so long (see Anthony Lane's story from January 2010 here) by taking a guided hike.

There's more hikes planned for the summer. Sign up, while there's still time.

Guided hikes give the public first chance to
visit the South Slope of Pikes Peak

Come see the beauty of the South Slope! City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services is teaming up again with the Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC), Friends of the Peak (FOTP), and Colorado Springs Utilities (Springs Utilities) to provide opportunities for citizens to explore the South Slope of Pikes Peak through guided hikes. After a successful initial season of offering hikes, the program will be extended into the summer of 2011. The South Slope is not yet open to the general public, but citizens are invited to see the open space this summer by joining one of the guided hikes. Hikes will take place on:
· Saturday, June 18
· Saturday, June 25
· Saturday, July 9
· Saturday, July 23
· Thursday, August 4
· Saturday, August 27
· Saturday, September 10
· Sunday, September 18

Tours will begin at the main parking lot of Red Rock Canyon (Highway 24 and Ridge Road, just past 31st Street), and participants will caravan to the South Slope. The hikes are $12 per participant and reservations are required. (Spots are limited and fill up quickly!) Call the Trails and Open Space Coalition at 719-633-6884 to register.

All participants must be prepared to hike 7 miles at high altitude. The South Slope ranges from 10,500 to 12,000 feet. Participants must be 12 years or older, and participants under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Dogs are not allowed.

During the hike, participants will learn about the history of the site, the purpose of the watershed, information about the sensitivity of the site, such as the wetlands, fens, and Bighorn Sheep lambing areas, amongst other interesting information. Information will also be provided for the future development of the trailheads and the trail.

Colorado Springs Utilities collaborated with the public to create the Plan for Recreational Uses on Municipal Watershed Lands. This document identifies opportunities for hiking, cycling, equestrian use, fishing and boating. Implementation of the plan is dependent on available funding and volunteer efforts.

The South Slope will not be open for general public use until parking is provided and there are meaningful trail connections. Soft surface trails will be built through volunteer efforts. If you would like to volunteer please visit www.fotp.com for a complete list of project dates and to sign up.

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